The Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, in association with the Victoria House Foundation headquartered in Washington, DC, embarked on a joint mission to advance education through technology in public schools within Montego Bay and its environs.
This was achieved in collaboration with Treshorna Huie president of the Adelphi Community Development Committee who interfaced with the local schools and communities. The presentation ceremony to distribute 131 tablets and 26 laptop computers will take place at the Holiday Inn on Friday, October 8th, 2021. Dr. Yvonne Smith, Chair of the Atlanta Chapter of the Sister Cities Committee and Director of the annual Health Mission to Montego Bay, reported that this is not the first time the two nonprofit organizations have partnered to support the drive to enhance education.
Dr. Smith mentioned that the initiative was coordinated with Mr. McFarlane Okonta, Systems Engineer and CEO of the Victoria House Foundation, who sourced the computers and will be working closely with the schools to provide technical support and maintenance of the equipment.
In addition, the Sister Cities Committee spearheaded the procurement of the tablets. Mr. Fred Smith, Chair of the Montego Bay Chapter of the Cities Committee, endorsed the efforts of Dr. Smith and Mr. Okonta and reaffirmed the commitment of members of the local team, Dr. Norma Taylor and Mrs. Jasmine Tomlinson Brown, who were integral to the coordination of the logistics in Montego Bay. Schools benefitting from this year’s donations are: • Adelphi Primary • Adelphi Garden Basic • Goodwill Primary • Sudbury All age • Barrett town All age • Dumfries Primary, Buckingham Primary • Muschett High • Anchovy High • Watson Town Basic • Bethtephil Basic • University of the West Indies • Cornwall College • Farm Primary and Junior High • Providence Heights Infant Teachers and students representing each school will be on hand to receive the donation on behalf of their schools.
Dr Smith stated that the donations are timely given the advent of virtual learning caused by the Covid 19 pandemic and its adverse effects on developing countries. Noting that both associations deemed it a moral responsibility to contribute to nation-building, she reiterated that they are committed to preserving the future of Jamaica through the social and academic development of the youths.
She mentioned that good morals, coupled with a solid educational base, are essential components of our future leaders. Complementing the existing education program undertaken by the Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, three scholarships will be awarded to students attending Montego Bay High School, St. James High School, and Mt. Alvernia High School.
One of the scholarships is offered by the Martin Family in honor of the Honorable Vin Martin OD, former Jamaica Honorary Counsel in Atlanta and a former Chair of the Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee. The Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee is a household name in Western Jamaica, having established a relationship between both municipalities for almost half of a century.
Their signature annual health mission, renamed in honor of the Honorable Vin Martin, has contributed over US$2M in medication and medical supplies, including a recent donation of US$70,000 to purchase Hi Flo oxygen for Noel Holmes Hospital, Cornwall Regional Hospital and Falmouth Hospital. Dr Smith also confirmed that plans are in place to support the annual Christmas treats at the Psychiatric Ward at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, the Women’s Centre in Montego Bay, the St. James infirmary, The Night Shelter and City Spirit (street people program).